NOVEMBER 18, 2020
“Jehovah helped me to remain steadfast in my faith,” recalls Brother Jovidon Bobojonov after being released from prison on November 1, 2020. The day before, the President of Tajikistan pardoned Jovidon, along with 377 other prisoners. Jovidon served nine months of a two-year sentence for conscientious objection to military service.
On October 4, 2019, military officers abducted Jovidon, then 19 years old, from his home and detained him at the enlistment office. Over the next several months, he was transferred to numerous military units. In each military Temporary Detention Facility (TDF), he had to explain why he refused to serve in the army. “Numerous commanders and soldiers asked me illogical questions, and they all wanted me to give up my religion,” relates Jovidon. “They tried to provoke me with these questions so that I would lose my temper. Sometimes they would wake me up at night and ask all the same questions over and over again, demanding that I explain why I refuse to serve in the army.
“However, prayer was very helpful. In the military unit, every day and night I prayed intensely while sobbing, asking Jehovah for his help to not give up, not disappoint him, and not answer back when I was provoked.
“Jehovah held my hand tightly . . . When I felt lonely, it depressed me. But Jehovah, by means of his creation, inspired and strengthened me. Every morning I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and singing. At night, I gazed at the moon and stars. Those gifts from Jehovah made me feel happy and encouraged.”
Jovidon was convicted on April 2, 2020, and transferred from a TDF to prison. He was not allowed to receive mail. However, local brothers and sisters delivered food to him and wrote the daily text scripture on the grocery bags. “This helped me to not feel lonely, and I realized how great my friends are,” says Jovidon.
Jovidon was also grateful that he could remember encouraging Bible verses, such as Romans 8:37-39. He says: “In prison, I realized how true those words are. None of the trials were able to distance me from Jehovah’s love. Jehovah helped me to remain steadfast in my faith.”
Jovidon’s experience has encouraged his parents. His father, Abdujamol, says: “Our faith was strengthened by prayers and the good example of our son, who successfully passed the test. All of our spiritual brothers and sisters around the world were very supportive. We deeply appreciate their prayers. We are very grateful to Jehovah for giving us such loving and caring friends.”
In this time of the end, we all expect to face “fiery trials.” (1 Peter 4:12) Thus, Jovidon concludes: “Now that I am free, I plan to use my freedom to deepen my knowledge and be well prepared for any upcoming trials. For those of you who have not yet faced severe trials, it is imperative that you use your freedom to the fullest to deepen your knowledge of Jehovah by reading his Word and our publications.”